Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to use 5 percent of all import duties to finance a trust fund dedicated for freight-only mobility projects.
The "National Freight Network Trust Fund Act of 2014," introduced by Rep. Janice Hahn (D-Calif.), would channel duties into a separate fund that would pay for road improvements within a federally designated "national freight network," as well as those rail lines that connect the network to the country's ports-of-entry.
In the most recent transport-funding bill that became law two years ago, Congress mandated the Department of Transportation to establish a nationwide freight network within a year of the bill's enactment. That remains a work in progress, however.
Hahn's legislation is not the first to call for the creation of a trust fund to be used to only pay for freight projects. However, it is believed to be the first time that the proceeds from import duties would be designated as the funding source.
In a statement, Rep. Hahn said her bill ensures that the improvements to the goods-movement infrastructure would be paid for by those who would most benefit from it. "The taxes and fees our nation collects should be spent on the purpose they were collected for, much like the Harbor Maintenance Tax is spent to improve ports," she said in a statement.
Hahn represents California's 44th Congressional District, which includes the Port of Los Angeles. It does not include the adjacent Port of Long Beach.